Tad Devine, one of the primary strategists involved with Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) 2016 presidential bid, met with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio about a possible 2020 bid last weekend.
Devine said he had not been planning to partake in the primary race after his firm parted ways with Sanders’ 2020 operation shortly after the Senator announced his second bid. But de Blasio’s staff reached out about having a meeting and he obliged, meeting with the mayor and his wife Chirlane McCray at Gracie Mansion this past Saturday to discuss what a presidential run would take.
Devine, who did not attempt to keep his dinner secret, cautioned that the mayor was not on the cusp of making a decision. But he said that he was impressed by both de Blasio and his wife and would be “very happy” to talk to him about a potential role should he ultimately decide on a run. He said that he came away from the conversation believing that the Mayor had a story to tell.
“He got in touch because he’s thinking about running for president,” Devine told The Daily Beast on Wednesday afternoon. “I think he’s looking at it seriously and I think he’s a serious person.”
As more and more candidates jump into the 2020 primary, with former Vice President Joe Biden likely the largest name expected to enter in the coming week, de Blasio has continuously flirted with doing so himself. The New York City mayor has traveled to three early primary states, created the Fairness PAC, and has two aides reportedly working on a possible campaign.
So far, the early indicators have not been positive for a national bid for the 57-year-old mayor who is currently serving his second term. A Quinnipiac University poll from early April found that 76 percent of New York City respondents said that de Blasio should not run for president.
Yet he, like many others still joining a field that has ballooned to 19 candidates, hasn’t appeared to be deterred by signs that a potential candidacy would not go as planned.
“Time and time again, people will tell you what you can’t do,” de Blasio recently said at the National Action Network convention in New York. “But don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t do. Don’t let anyone talk you out of your own power.”
Should he choose to run, and should he bring Devine on board to help, it would be interpreted as a minor shot across the bow at Sanders; not just because de Blasio occupies a similar ideological lane but because Devine knows the Senator better than almost any other consultant. He worked on Sanders’ past Senatorial campaigns and helped craft much of the advertising for the 2016 presidential bid.
A spokesperson for de Blasio did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the nature of the conversation or any other preparatory work that they had done for a possible run. But as he meets with potential advisers, de Blasio also is facing bad headlines at home, including a Wednesday report detailing alleged violations of conflict of interest rules pertaining to a previous non-profit he formed.